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PREDICTIONS 2008 December 31, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Blogging in general.
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This year we are due to see the end of the Bush regime and the election of a new president, probably a Democrat, and probably either Obama or Clinton. Bush, and the judgment of history will escalate, or if you prefer surge, in its condemnation of him, Cheney and the Bush Administration, will probably end in a befitting whimper. G Bush is so lame he probably thinks this song is about him (via Modulator) :
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THE POLITICS OF DESPAIR December 31, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Humankind/Planet Earth, US Politics.
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Alexander Cockburn reflects on the state of mind among some citizens of the greatest bar none country in the world:

Time made Vladimir Putin its Man of the Year. Chalk it up as nostalgia for the cold war, when America was great, and a working man in a state like Michigan had two cars, a nice house, a country cabin, a health plan, a pension and a wife who stayed at home, canning fruit and batting her eyes at the postman. These days he has two lousy jobs, she has three and they have negative equity in their home, no health plan and no pension.
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HICKS CASE REPORTS December 29, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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D Hicks is released from prison in Adelaide and the properly anonymous writer for ABC Online does not miss the opportunity to frame him as “a convicted terrorism supporter”. A very cute expression indeed serving to obscure the fact that he was incarcerated without charge and without recourse to habeas corpus and was released from the Guantanamo Bay on a plea bargain.
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COLLAGE TRIAL December 29, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.
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This collage is an experiment. I thought the blog needed livening up. This format provides the opportunity to mix landscape and dog photos. Click on for the expanded view.
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BENAZIR BHUTTO KILLED December 28, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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ABC Online carries a report of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto after she had addressed a rally in Rawalpindi. After shooting Bhutto, her assassin blew himself up. Any political killing is especially shocking, and their is significance in the fact that it occurred in Rawalpindi, described by the BBC as:

. . . the nerve centre of Pakistan’s military, is seen as one of the country’s most secure cities, making the attack even more embarrassing for the government of Gen Musharraf.

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A CHRISTMAS STORY TO SAVOUR December 26, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Modern History.
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On Christmas Day in 1914 along the front line in Belgium the soldiers from both armies took time out to celebrate Christmas. There are a number of different reports, but it seemed that hostilities ceased, and that over a million men were involved. Both sides made use of the time to bury their dead. In some places it is said the truce lasted until the New Year. Then, after causing considerable anxiety to their military and perhaps political leaders, they resumed killing each other.

christmastruces.jpg
Photo Montage via AntiWar.Com.

AntiWar.Com has a series of reports on the event.

BE QUIET AND BE December 24, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Blogging in general, Duckspeak.
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This is the season for assertion of faith, for debates about the truth and belief, that seems to descend into a slanging match. So, for example, we have the opinions of the Anglican Bishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, and Bob Ellis. Let us not give any ground so that we can verbally pulverize our protagonists, and let us just suppose that our belief is the source of all wisdom, a human quality sometimes in short supply. My partially in this bawl is with Ellis, humanism and atheism.
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CAPITAL OF THE WORLD? December 23, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Environment.
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According to The Independent, New York is not the capital of the globalized world, even though it is the headquarters of the most international businesses. London is. London has the advantage of more sites of significance as judged by UNESCO than any other city. So it all depends on the criteria.
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CHANGING THE NATION December 21, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Paul Keating said something like to the effect, “that when you change the government you change the nation”. It seems to me that it could be equally said,”that when you change the prime minister you change the nation”. Both of these statements are not quite true, but the change in the month or so since the election has been dramatic, at least on some major issues, such as the signing of Kyoto and the COAG (Council of Australian Governments) meeting. The fact is that balance of electoral opinion moves around and then is fixed by the election results, so that the nation does not change so much as its reflection back to itself changes with a new set of leaders, among which the prime minister is the key player and focus of attention.
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BASRA AND IRAQ December 19, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq.
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While it is unthinkable to those framing US policy in Iraq, it is inevitable that one day they will leave, and if the British experience in Basra is a guide they will leave behind a mess. The following video describes the situation as it applies to women who even under Saddam Hussein we are told as regards dress codes lived in a liberal city.


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OLD HABITS December 18, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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They die hard. ABC Online has the headline, which while not technically untrue suggests one meaning but the quote says something else. Yes their is journalism, and there is journalism.
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OK WE WON, NOW WHAT? December 16, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia, Terrorism Issues.
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The British Army, with help of Americans with night goggles, and the Afghan Army won a famous victory of arms against the Taliban at Musa Qala. They forced out the Taliban to leave the town before the onset of winter.
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REDEMPTION IN VIOLENCE? December 16, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Modern History.
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War is futile. It practitioners believe in its purgative and redemptive qualities and that it is a quick fix for problems and that domination of one set of human beings over another works. They have the benighted view that human nature is, in Herbert Spencer’s words “red in tooth and claw”. “Look at us”, – either Australia or the United States -”this is what violence creates and it works”. In truth the extent to which Australia and the United States work is despite their history of war and violence, which is not always visible, and would probably work better if that history was unreservedly repudiated. Structural violence and cultural violence, both suggestions of Johan Galtung, must be first exposed before it can be delegitimized. And we deal poorly, not least individually, with the repercussions of violence within ourselves and those harmed, a fundamental failure to take responsibility.
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LIBERAL REVIVAL December 13, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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While my preference would be for a multi-party system in which parties might come and go, I have to recognize that the two-party system is an institutionalized fact unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. So I thought that Andrew Robb’s comments today, including the observation that WorkChoices went too far, was a good start.
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GOODBYE KABUL December 13, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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The news on one hand is NATO forces, principally the British with critical participation by the Americans have won a victory over the resistance in Afghanistan, and on the other that as in Iraq, Brown would prefer a strategic retreat. The sustainability of the victory at Musa Qala and the sustainability of the newly formed Afghan Army to maintain the peace is yet to be seen.
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HICK’S CASE REDUX December 11, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Terrorism Issues.
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Attorney-General McClelland has signed an order allowing D Hicks to be placed under a control order under provisions of the terrorism legislation. His lawyer suggests that given the legislation it is unlikely that Hicks will be able to easily and successfully contest this decision.
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AGAINST THE WIND December 9, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in Life Experience.
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I thought I would share a moment of personal nostalgia, an awakening of past memories, of a person who slipped away from my life. I know this is against the wind. Kindness endures. The particular discovery was not due to a faulty memory but to the wonders of the internet. So here is the song:

Stand out lyric: “Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then”. In retrospect, not the greatest song, but one of the best album covers in my opinion.

AFGHANISTAN UPDATE December 9, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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Why are we there? What is going on in Afghanistan? The conflict is being reported in cliches, without analysis or historical background. If Bahlol Lohdi is to be believed Britain, and the Blair Government, had neo-imperial dreams with a design to make good “the great game” from the nineteenth century. I suggest such speculations are somewhat far-fetched.
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“GOOD FOR YOU” December 7, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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There is George W Bush, and there is Denis Kucinich. Whatever, we might say about the US political system, the fact is that Denis Kucinich is running for President. Before youtube and the internet his message would be refracted through the mass media.


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FALUN GONG PERSECUTION December 6, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in East Asia, Human Rights.
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When I got to Central from Westmead, I had a hour before the next train to the South Coast so I went off looking to buy a book. At Haymarket, a elderly women was offering a pamphlet to passers by which reported that the Chinese Government was harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners. Two Canadians, David Matas and David Kilgour, have carried out an investigation into this allegation. The UN Special Repporteur, Manfred Nowak, has also investigated this matter.
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